CEO Sit Down: Hayoung Park on HYP

A company revolutionizing exclusive releases: HYP, started by CEO Hayoung Park for the world.  

So, what’s all the hype about? I’ll tell you! HYP, a company started by CEO Hayoung Park, was recently unveiled to the world this summer, causing a stir among the limited collectors of all things street wear. HYP is an online bidding platform that partners with brands for exclusive release auctions. So far, the company has hosted extremely rare items, like a one of a kind pair of Nike “Stay Home” SB Dunk Low Pros in a custom hazmat box and a tie-dyed Supreme Box Logo Sample, which sold for a shocking $52,000. There are many things that are unique about the platform, one of them being your ability to see who is bidding live and their respective Instagram accounts, so you can really flex in front of the world. HYP has already been featured on Complex, Highsnobiety, Hypebeast, and Nice Kicks, making a splash right out of the gate. If this is what only a month of releases look like, we are truly in store for a wild ride. I have the privilege of knowing Hayoung personally, allowing me to get the low down on all things HYP to share with you. Let’s jump in.


So Hayoung, how did HYP first start? How did this idea grow into a business?

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It all started when I was 12- I was obsessed with basketball and thought I needed the Jordans to play better. Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t willing to pay for any of the sneakers, so I had to make my own money. A friend of mine was willing to sell me a pair of his Jordan 6 Oreos for way under retail – for $50, but before I borrowed the money from my mom, I had a buyer for that pair as well as sellers and buyers for two other pairs that I would buy that day. After my first day of reselling sneakers, I made $150 dollars in profit, paid my mom back the $50 with $1 interest, and grew my collection to a little over 300 pairs in the next four years. 

In doing this, I realized that brands have been innovating on product for as long as they’ve been around, but the way they price and sell the goods has remained stagnant since the beginning of mass production. It’s been a flat price in an attempt to capture a volatile market. It also physically was not able to capture any of the additional value created in the aftermarket because that was passed the brand’s point of capturability. I started to play around with the idea in early 2019 and officially started working on HYP in July 2019. At first, I pitch it to a couple of friends who were a bit doubtful that it was going to work, but I had the opportunity to pitch to a few major brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Supreme, and got some really great feedback. I took the points of concern and the wants of the brands and formatted to what it is now, which is: HYP, the social bidding platform for exclusive releases. On HYP, users link their Instagram to compete and show off in front of the world for exclusive release auctions in fashion, collectibles, and art.

What has been your biggest challenge in starting the company?

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The biggest challenge in starting the company has been finding a way to shortcut the Catch-22 that is consumer platforms. In order to get the brands to get the cool releases, you need the consumers and you need the demand side. But in order to get the demand side, you need the cool releases and you need the cool brands. We found a way to shortcut that by finding and working with the artists who were really cool and hyping up the first release. We knew that the platform would hyper concentrate and show demand to encourage other people to bid as well, and it worked pretty well! Our biggest challenges are finding cool releases and brands to work with as we curate the next batch of HYP releases to elevate both the HYP brand as well as brand partners. 

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start a company in today’s climate?

For anyone looking to start a company today’s climate, I honestly think it’s a better time than ever to start a company because a lot of the traditional incumbent companies are short on cash and they’re not as agile as startups. I think there’s a lot of room, especially now for startups to take over different niches that the bigger brands can’t quite adapt to because of COVID-19 restrictions or because they’re really really short on cash.

What is a collaboration that you have dreamed of doing?

A collaboration that I dream of doing is with Daniel Arsham. I think he’s a great artist and I think he really understands consumer sentiment and is great at balancing the past, current, and future. 

What about today’s culture makes HYP attractive to consumers?

Humans have been showing off to other people they see during the day forever. Recently, we’ve been showing off to our friends on Instagram. I think the next logical progression is showing off in front of the world, amplifying the feeling of walking in the mall with designer shopping bags in your hands. There haven’t been any digital equivalents to that feeling, and I believe HYP provides just that on an even more elevated scale. 

You’re quite fashionable yourself, what are some of your favorite brands?

My favorite brands are Thom Browne and APC. I recently started dressing more minimalist as I stopped wearing streetwear while optimizing my wardrobe for meetings. I have to dress more mature and elevated, so I started to invest in pieces that are a bit more sophisticated than Supreme, Bape, and Off-White. I still love those brands though.

What piece of advice have you received that you would give to others?

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The piece of advice that I would give to others is just to send it. No one knows exactly what they’re doing at the end of the day, as crazy as that sounds. I realized that you can’t learn to swim without getting in the pool and that you can’t learn to swim by reading a textbook. If there’s a project that you want to work on or a question that you want to answer, just go out and try to figure it out, try to take that first step because that’s always the hardest. When you do take the first couple of steps, find more reasons and motivations to take the next few. Also – stay (mentally) young and creative. Have fun.

 I know it’s top secret, but could you give us any clues as to what future releases HYP is going to be having?

For future HYP releases, we want to do collaborations that no one saw coming that strangely make sense. I think the fun is putting shit together that isn’t meant to be together and having that work & look great. From animal plush dolls to porcelain sculptures, we’re considering all of it. 

 

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